The Cincinnati Bengals have watched their 3-1 start fizzle away with three consecutive losses that have the team grasping for relevancy in the AFC North.
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Last year's feel-good story has run out of steam.
"We've wallowed around here in mediocrity. Let's go," Lewis said, via The Associated Press. "We're looking for our quarterback and our middle linebacker to take hold of our football team."
Both Maualuga and Dalton seemed to accept Lewis' challenge.
"I guess it is my opportunity -- not like it was never given to me but at the same time, time to be a jerk, time to get in the middle of that defense and start spicing things up," Maualuga later said.
Dalton also responded: "As a rookie, you come in and you are meeting new people. Now, second year, it is your offense. It is your team. That is how I've got to treat it. He just wants some fire out there, making sure we are perfect in practice in everything we are doing. I am not too worried about what he said. It's just he expects a lot out of us."